I’ve often heard that imitation is the highest form of flattery. But is that true? Do we really want to be like someone else, or do we want the end result from the other person being who and what they are, without walking the trail that got them where they are?
Consider the case of Wolfgang Beltracchi, who along with his wife are currently serving time in a German prison for selling fine art Masterpieces. Not just a few, but hundreds of works by various master painters, all authenticated by well known experts and sold by the major auction houses to collectors the world over. Many of the pieces of art were thought to be some of the very best works of the masters. So what is wrong with that?
Well, old Wolfgang didn’t find them in a lost collection like he portrayed, instead he painted them himself. For the last thirty years or so he has been passing off his work as lost masterpieces by very skilled use of techniques that make canvas, wood, even the fasteners of the frames look old. As long as people believed the paintings were genuine, they paid millions to own them, but when the scam came unraveled, they simply owned cheap imitations that nobody wanted.
What an incredible waste of talent and loss of opportunity to be a real master painter. When questioned about why he did this, he replied that it takes time to be discovered and he liked to be rich. Although it is easy to sit back and castigate Wolfgang for what he did, I do not see him as very different from most of the American Christian clergy.
The Clergy, ministers of the gospel, pastors, evangelist and teachers, all stand before the community at large as proclaimers of the Gospel. But do they proclaim the Gospel, or do they give us facsimiles that seem reasonable, that sound right and make us feel good? Regardless of their backgrounds or accomplishments, unless they have become disciples of Jesus themselves and are following His teachings in their own lives, they will inevitably proclaim a gospel that is based on human reasoning instead of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Our quest then becomes finding a spiritual leader who is the genuine article, someone who walks in the Kingdom and teaches us how to become disciples of Jesus and how to make others His disciples. If you buy into anything less, you will have just purchased a cheap imitation that does nothing to change your life.
Rev 3:18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.